At first glance almost any avid sledder that rides anything from a 150 hp
stock 800 to a full-out boosted 250 hp mod sled would look at the Timbersled
Mountain Horse Snowbike kit and think of a slow stuckfest ride through the
woods on an underpowered bike.
I mean, how can something with such little horsepower and small track go
through the power and not get stuck, right?
Wrong. They say seeing is believing. And Timbersled’s Allen Mangum gave me
an opportunity to believe this past winter when he took me out riding.
Right off the bat we loaded the three bikes into the back of Mangum’s truck
(yes, I said three) and headed to the mountains. Once on the mountain, the
bikes made for a quick and easy unload. It’s amazing that one person can load
and unload these bikes without any problems once you get a system down.
After gearing up, Mangum offered a few pointers to help us adapt from sleds
to snowbikes and we were off.
Getting on the Mountain Horse snowbike is the most unnatural feeling in
the world. (Have your legs fallen asleep and then you try to walk? Well, that’s
how the first mile on the trail felt … in fact, right off most will hate how the bike
feels and want to get back on a sled.) But after a few miles Mangum stopped
and asked us if we were ready for some hills. “Umm, ya sure,” I mumbled as he
pointed his snowbike up a steep ravine and took off.
Still uneasy about the feel of the bike, we turned them into the sidehill and
this was where things started to change. Right off one can tell this system is
made for the steep. In fact, the worse it got the better off I seemed to be. We
spent a few minutes on an open hillside learning the feel of the bikes and then it
was off to the hellholes.
I was amazed at how slow I could take the Mountain Horse snowbike through
and up a slope that I would have previously considered reserved for the best of
the best snowmobile riders. These things
just didn’t want to get stuck.
I could slow down and make a mistake
right before heading up an eight-foot
vertical wall of powder on a sidehill, then
drop it into first gear and it would just pull
right up over the top with the ski in the air.
One of the bikes had an older 2Moto
conversion kit. Mangum was riding that
one. While he was wide open with the
throttle pinned and just barely crawling
through these spots, getting stuck constantly
whenever his speed would burn
off, the two of us on the Mountain Horse
kits could simply crawl through the worst
of spots without worrying about getting
stuck. I’m still amazed at how much fun we
had regardless of the snow conditions. It
was one of those days when on a sled you
do great as long as you keep your speed
up … but let off the throttle once or lose
your line in the trees and the bottom just
falls out from underneath and there is just
no traction once the tunnel gets bogged
down in the wet heavy snow.
Even as good as the snowbikes performed,
Mangum said they do much
better in better snow conditions. He said
the bikes are even more forgiving on the
corners in the powder. You can turn even
sharper on the hills with more speed.
And the bikes just float over the worst of
bumps and ruts. But we found that the
snowbikes really don’t require optimum
snow conditions to have fun. They are a
blast in all conditions.
Another thing that surprised me is how
well the front ski sticks to the snow. One
would think you would have to keep the
ski level or it would wash out in a turn. It
was just the opposite. The more you lean
the bike into a hill or into a turn the more
it sticks to the hill.
The Mountain Horse snowbike does
require a bit of a learning curve. You have
to trust the ski no matter what, even if you
are on a vertical sidehill. If you fall into
a deep tree well, you just steer into the
bank and the snowbike will pop right out
After almost a full day on the bike I was
able to start pulling some lines up stuff
one just does not take a sled up or even
dream of taking a sled across. Narrow
creek bed snow bridges with water underneath
are no longer an issue … and it
doesn’t matter if there’s a vertical wall on
the other side. You just hit it WOT and
pop on top. Or if you need to sidehill
across something, no matter how
steep it is, you just pin it and go.
You also can cover a lot of
country fast. You can fly across
stuff no matter how steep or how
tight … even through holes that swallow
the entire bike. These things hardly ever
get stuck. And even when they do, they
are easy to get unstuck.
After that first full day of riding, I could
see how these kits open up a whole new
set of possibilities—not only where you
can ride, but how much fun you can have
on three gallons of fuel. (And there’re no
belts to buy.) And it was great to be able
to throw three guys in a truck, drive to
the mountain without pulling a big trailer
and just go riding … almost like going
motorcycling, but in the snow. And since
that day I’ve been able to put a lot more
miles on the snowbike and my impressions
have only been reconfirmed. This thing is
The Mountain Horse kit adapts to any
The Down Side
Now that I’ve covered all the great
things about them, here are a few of the
negatives that I found.
First, once you stop the bike you must
put it in neutral to start it. (Not sure why
… I start my 450 in the dirt all the time in
first with no problems. But this is not the
case for the snowbikes.)
Second, not really a con but I felt the
Rekluse clutch was a must for the snowbike
… but then again, I also think it’s a
must for the dirt as well. But the stock
clutched bike also did well.
Third, the snowbike can be hard on
snowpants. Although I never burnt a hole
through my snowpants, I did smell them
from time to time … so it was probably
just a matter of time. I’m sure there’s
something that can be done to stop this,
but it is an issue that will need to be
Fourth, there is a bit of a learning
curve. But nothing like time on the snow
to solve that problem.
Finally, iced trails are not the best. You
need just a touch of powder on the trail
to eliminate any darting. But regardless, if
you take it relatively slow, you won’t have
Since my ride, I’ve received a lot of
questions about the Mountain Horse
system. Here are the most common questions
How much gas do you carry and how
far can you go?
We did a full day and burned about
2-2.5 gallons. Once you get used to the
bike Mangum says a good 60-plus mile
ride burns between three to four gallons
of fuel. And it is easy to carry extra fuel
on the back of the bike.
How often do you change out chains
I looked at these aluminum sprockets
after the ride and they looked almost
new. Even after 1,500-2,000 miles they
still look in great shape … easily a full
season left on them. The snow just does
not eat them up like dirt.
How often do I tighten the chains?
After talking with Mangum, I would
check them twice a season, maybe three
times. But you shouldn’t have to tighten
them more than once a season.
Does the bike stand up on its own?
It does about 80 percent of the time
without much effort. The other 20 percent
you may have to find its balancing
Is it going to work the crap out of my
bike and motor?
I ride the dunes a lot and I can say
the dunes are 10 times harder on the
bike than the snow. Most times you have
to get off the throttle and back on so
much … and also there are no air filters
to clean and dirt to get into the motor.
We’ve put 2,000 miles on one bike, which
is a lot, and it runs just like new … never
a top end or anything yet.
Is the cold weather going to take out
the seals and leak oil on the forks?
On the Yamaha and other 450s so far
it seems to do just fine without any leaks.
Now I’m sure some of you may have
more questions. Feel free to e-mail at
email@example.com or call me at
Code Red Performance (406) 580-2277.
I appreciated the opportunity I had to
demo these bikes. I was a huge skeptic
before I got on one. I have always had
dirt bikes that just sit all winter. But after
spending some time on the Mountain
Horse snowbike, I now see some real
opportunities with my dirt bikes. This kit
will allow me to go into some real cool
new areas and have a blast doing it.
The front of the track has a 20-degree
approach angle to provide the ultimate
Our kit has the same pressure points
on the ground as the bike with tires.
121-inch by 12-inch by 2-inch
Camoplast Back Country track.
Mountain Tamer rear suspension system
provides the best possible traction
and a smooth ride.
System adds 60 lbs. to the bike; making
the total weight of a motocross bike
about 290 lbs.
Bolt on kit to your bike with no modifications
(simply remove and replace parts).
Snow bike system comes as a complete
assembled unit that is ready to install.
Kits available for late model dirt bikes
that are 250cc and larger: A 450cc (or
larger) dirt bike will give you the most out
of your kit. Designed for Yamaha, Honda,
Suzuki, Kawasaki and KTM.
Standard kit color is all black.
Custom colors are available for $150
Full line of add-on accessories available.
Retail price $4995.